Revolutionary 3D printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup

A
3D printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup, Carbon3D Inc.,
enables objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than being
built layer by layer as they have been for the past 25 years, representing a
fundamentally new approach to 3D printing. The technology, to appear as the
cover article in the March 20 print issue of Science, allows ready-to-use
products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods and creates
previously unachievable geometries that open opportunities for innovation not
only in health care and medicine, but also in other major industries such as
automotive and aviation.

Joseph
M. DeSimone, professor of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill and of chemical
engineering at N.C. State, is currently CEO of Carbon3D where he co-invented
the method with colleagues Alex Ermoshkin, chief technology officer at Carbon
3D and Edward T. Samulski, also professor of chemistry at UNC. Currently on
sabbatical from the University, DeSimone has focused on bringing the technology
to market, while also creating new opportunities for graduate students to use
the technique for research in materials science and drug delivery at UNC and
NCSU.

The
technology, called CLIP – for Continuous Liquid Interface Production –
manipulates light and oxygen to fuse objects in liquid media, creating the
first 3D printing process that uses tunable photochemistry instead of the
layer-by-layer approach that has defined the technology for decades. It works
by projecting beams of light through an oxygen-permeable window into a liquid
resin. Working in tandem, light and oxygen control the solidification of the
resin, creating commercially viable objects that can have feature sizes below
20 microns, or less than one-quarter of the width of a piece of paper.

“By
rethinking the whole approach to 3D printing, and the chemistry and physics
behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts
radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially ‘growing’ them in
a pool of liquid,” said DeSimone, who revealed the technology at a TED
talk on March 16 in the opening session of the conference in Vancouver, British
Columbia.

CLIP’s
debut coincides with the United Nation designating 2015 as the International
Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, which recognizes important
anniversaries of scientific advances enabled with light.

(Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

More
information: Continuous liquid interface production of 3D objects, Published
Online March 16 2015. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2397

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